In the third annual Syrian Refugees Blanket Drive, Embrace Relief volunteers had contributed approximately 40,000 blankets, 33,000 winter coats and 7,500 pieces of various clothing, amounting to sixteen containers in total. All the collections have been shipped from the Port of Virginia on December 22nd via Maersk to Turkey. The contributions of this year have been donated to more than 20,000 families.
Embrace Relief’s CEO Osman Dulgeroglu spent a week in Turkey along with a delegation from NOVA (Northern Virginia Regional Commission) between February 11 and 18 to observe and to participate in the distribution process directly. The NOVA delegation consisted of NOVA Executive Director Mark Gibb, Prince William County Supervisor Marty Nohe, former Loudoun County Board Chairman Scott York and NOVA Director of Regional Energy and Sustainability Policy Bob Lazaro.
They have visited Syrian families who fled their country after the war and took refuge in Istanbul’s working class neighborhoods, allowing them to see the effects of the disaster in Syria on families and children. The group also witnessed the harsh living conditions of the families in the neighborhoods, which Lazaro explained “would make it difficult to return to the comforts of America,” adding that it would push them to return.
During their visit, they also visited Al-Rahma Education Center in Istanbul, a private school founded by Syrian refugees, which provides education to the children of displaced Syrians in that city from grade 1 to 12. Embrace Relief has recently decided to sponsor the costs of this school for a whole year with a new fundraising campaign.
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